Advanced search

This topic is for discussions about campaigns Mumsnet is running or may be planning to run. Go here for other campaigns or petitions.

MNHQ. any chance of you supporting the campaign for affordable insurance for Independent Midwives?

(24 Posts)
AtYourCervix Mon 10-Jun-13 16:23:32

A bump as September is looming.

samanthalevelfooting Thu 28-Mar-13 13:36:15

In 2010 the EU court of human rights stated that all women have the fundamental human right to choose how, where and with whom they want to give birth. The EU court held that governments cannot use force of the law to take away their options.

But sadly this is about to happen...
This year, from October, a woman's ability to obtain the birth she wants will be restricted.

Independent midwives, who work outside the NHS and offer women a greater choice will become illegal. Their registration will depend upon obtaining personal indemnity insurance (PII). Currently independent midwives are exempt from obtaining PII as the annual cost of £80,000, is much greater than their annual salaries.

The NHS will become more of a monopoly restricting the choice many women have on how to give birth. Many NHS protocols mean that women are often advised or pushed into a more medicalised approach to their birth. Healthy breech or twin pregnancies are given no option other than caesareans. Many VBAC's (vaginal birth after caesareans) are also advised to have subsequent caesareans despite the risk of uterine rupture being only 0.5%.

Many women now have caesareans due to a failure to progress in labour or other labour difficulties. However, understanding the physiology of a labouring woman we can see that there are many environmental factors at work.

One of the fundamental necessities for a healthy labour is the correct functioning of the hormonal glands, the pituitary and hypothalamus. These glands are held in the primitive or "old" brain. Stimulation to the "new" brain or neocortex inhibits the correct secretion of these hormones needed for labour.

Factors which stimulate the new brain or neocortex and inhibit labouring hormones are:
language, asking questions
bright lights
feeling observed or a lack of privacy. All non-human mammals retreat to a dark environment alone from the group to labour.
the production of adrenaline ( fear, pressure to perform, deadlines such as the need to dilate within a certain time frame)

If we consider a hospital labour ward environment with this in mind, the environment is not conducive to easily secreting the hormones of the primitive brain, vital for an easy labour.

By restricting options outside of the NHS means that labouring women have less choice, despite EU law, which may led to some women deciding they have no choice but to labour at home alone.

At beginning of the year, the Whittington hospital in London, closed down their specialist midwife led home birth team and replaced it with the community midwives. Community midwives have to juggle their normal duties with home births, affecting the time and care provided to birthing women.

On the other hand, if you have an Independent midwife, you would see the same 2 midwives throughout the pregnancy, who would get to know you as an individual. They can be called upon 24/7 with 28 days of post natal support provided for breastfeeding and other post natal advice and care. Independent midwives work with families who are planning a home birth or a hospital or birth centre birth.

Please sign the following government petition asking the government to provide an exemption or affordable PII to all independent midwives to allow mothers’ birthing choices to continue.

Please forward this to anyone else who would be interested in signing this, we only have until May to try and stop this from happening

Many thanks

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Sun 24-Mar-13 09:31:48

That was my own simple view. The way I see it is that women opting out if the NHS are saving it approx £1600 for a normal uncomplicated birth. More for assisted/section/hospital stay.

meditrina Sun 24-Mar-13 09:25:28

Thank you for the link.

However it does not provide information which answers the question I asked, which was a follow up to the assertion: "The cost of government underwriting PII setup for Independent Midwives would be cancelled out by women opting out of the NHS".

How much is saved to NHS?

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Sun 24-Mar-13 09:19:14


Protest is tomorrow. 11am on Abingdon Green at parliament.

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:40:10

"A campaign called 'Choose Your Midwife, Choose Your Birth' has been mounted to protest this upcoming change and appeal to the government to find a workable solution that does not involve axing independent midwifery - a service David Cameron himself has referred to as the 'gold standard' of maternity care."

So, the campaign is wanting the government to find a workable solution to the changes they have recently ut in place, that will effectively make independent midwifery illegal, and could result in many women choosing to 'free birth', thus increasing risks for those women.

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Wed 20-Mar-13 12:37:56

Thanks ami.

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:36:39

timid, see the Independent Midwives UK page on Pii.

"The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) provided insurance cover to all its members until 1994. Following a case involving an independent midwife, the commercial insurers providing RCM cover became aware that they would need to pay out, since the midwife was self employed and therefore had no vicarious liability through an employer. As a result, the insurers immediately raised their premium to half a million pounds, which the RCM felt it could not afford. The College decided to exclude those members who practised independently from PII cover, in order to keep RCM premiums at an affordable level. "

"Some commercial cover was available until 2002 but the premiums kept escalating, despite an excellent claims history, until an annual premium was around £20,000 per midwife. As this was more than many independent midwives earned, most were forced to make the difficult decision to cease practising or practise uninsured."

this link will take you to the page, where all these questions are answered

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:30:33

My first link was to the webpage for the protest march.

this Is the Facebook page.

Independent Midwives UK has been fighting this battle for many , many years, meditrina.

If you go to the link to the Independent Midwives UK website, and click on Professional Indemnity Insurance, the whole situation is explained very well. The page begins with this:

Currently there is no professional indemnity insurance available to Independent Midwives (IMs), which means we are personally liable for any negligence claim made against us. Midwives who are employed by the NHS are covered through their Trust which belongs to the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) run by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) provided insurance cover to all its members until 1994. Following a case involving an independent midwife, the commercial insurers providing RCM cover became aware that they would need to pay out, since the midwife was self employed and therefore had no vicarious liability through an employer. As a result, the insurers immediately raised their premium to half a million pounds, which the RCM felt it could not afford. The College decided to exclude those members who practised independently from PII cover, in order to keep RCM premiums at an affordable level.

It goes on to explain that independent midwives have been practicing without insurance since 2002, when the last insurer pulled out of providing cover due to no midwives being able to afford the high premiums.

Since, in the case of something going wrong during a 'medical' situation, the patient needs to prove in court that the practitioner was negligent, independent midwives have continued to practice without insurance, due to the fact that their practice is exemplary and they keep very careful records. They are careful also to monitor situations very carefully and take no risks with the health of either the mother or the baby.

There is no question of taxes being used to 'bail out' midwives. They are asking for this new law (that only insured midwives can practice) to be changed, or for insurance requirements to be changed, since midwives are currently insured in the same bracket as obstetrics, which an independent midwife's work would not stray into, since they would have advised the mother to go into hospital if there were such serious complications.

timidviper Wed 20-Mar-13 12:23:27

What is the definition of affordable? A lot of us in healthcare pay ludicrous amounts for professional indemnity insurance and I would object to one group of practitioners getting theirs subsidised or uinderwritten if other groups of us are battling on and paying ours unaided.

meditrina Wed 20-Mar-13 12:18:00

I've had a look at the links, but cannot find a "choose your midwife" tab, nor the figures for the costs of underwriting PII nor the estimated saving to NHS from women using private services.

How are other sorts of private deliveries insured, BTW. Could that model be followed?

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:14:53

From what I can see, this is not a question of wanting Government to support them financially.
The midwives are independent for a reason, and Govt financial backing would probably come at a price most would not want to pay (in terms of their policies and practices being heavily influenced by Govt, therefore stopping them from being independent).
The rules being brought in by the Government are stating that midwives cannot practice without PII. PII will only be available to NHS midwives, effectively de-legalising independent midwifery, and removing choice from women.

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:10:12

See also this quote from the same site:

If Parliament does nothing to help find a more amenable solution, an EU directive will come into effect on 25th October 2013 requiring all health care providers to have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) in order to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), a legal requirement to practise. This insurance is provided by the NHS for midwives working in its trusts, but cannot be obtained by those who work directly for the women they serve, independently. Without PII insurance, independent midwives may lose their registration and, in effect, become illegal. You can learn more about the directive on the Independent Midwives UK website. here

amistillsexy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:08:26

link to CYM,CYB here

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Wed 20-Mar-13 12:05:37

Can't link. On phone.

Look at IMUK and Choose your midwife, choose your birth.

They are also campaigning to Not link PII with registration. This is the bit that will affect all midwives.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 20-Mar-13 12:02:50

Really? I would like to see those figures.

I think it is unlikely.

meditrina Wed 20-Mar-13 11:54:29

Well, if you can demonstrate that, TCB with the cold hard cash figures, then it will make e case much more persuasive. Do you have a good link that lays out the figures?

I think it is vital that there is proper insurance in place.

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Wed 20-Mar-13 11:51:50

The cost of government underwriting PII setup for Independent Midwives would be cancelled out by women opting out of the NHS.

notcitrus Wed 20-Mar-13 11:47:48

It could be that the insurers aren't aware of significant demand, in which case publicising that demand would help, or are unaware of registration requirements which presumably ensure a midwife is qualified?
In either case dialogue by people who know all the details is needed.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 20-Mar-13 11:38:13

Why wouldn't it need to be subsidised by anyone, Teggie?

If it was a viable event to ensure then insurance companies would offer the insurance. They don't, which tells you that it is not cost-effective. Therefore it would have to subsidised by someone.

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Wed 20-Mar-13 11:31:02

Thanks Helen.

I can't do twitter. It makes me weep. But I had seen your retweets. Thanks.

The insurance wouldn't need to be subsidised by anyone.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Mar-13 11:25:14


TeggieCampbellBlegg <nice namechange>, we def do know about this campaign and have supported it recently by reTweeting their stuff.

But we'd be interested to see if folks think we should be doing more in the way of support for this.

We'll move this thread into Mumsnet campaigns now, and keep an eye on what folks post.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 20-Mar-13 09:29:06

I have a few questions about this.

How is it proposed to ensure "affordable" insurance?

Is it thought the insurance companies should subsidise the insurance? (Unlikely, as shareholder-owned)

Is it thought the government should subsidise the insurance / provide cover for independent midwives? I would object to taxes being used to fund insurance for independent midwives when taxes already pay for the NHS.

I can see that people feel they would like an alternative, but am very uncomfortable that that should be paid for out of taxes. The alternative I suppose is to allow midwives to practise without insurance. I wouldn't be comfortable using one without insurance myself, but that is maybe the only option if someone decides to opt out of the state-provided NHS option.

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Wed 20-Mar-13 09:05:26

New laws mean that from October midwives will not be able to register without proof of insurance.

At present there is no affordable insurance for Independent Midwives. Long story short means that it will be illegal to practice as an Independent Midwife.

This also has massive implications for all registered midwives, in particular linking registration through our professional body (NMC) and insurance.

Women who don't fit in with the standard NHS models of care will have no alternative. It is expected that numbers of women deciding to freebirth will increase.

I'm on my phone so can't do links but there is a protest organised at the Houses of Parliament on Monday March 25th under the banner of 'Choose your midwife; Choose your birth.

This issue is about choice. Women's birth choices and Midwife's work choices.

Is there any chance Mumsnet could lend their support to the campaign?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: